There's a new wrinkle in the ongoing controversy over classified documents being found in private residences. Former Vice President Mike Pence is the latest top-level politician to be found at the center of the fray.
The Justice Department has received a "small number" of classified documents that Pence's team discovered at his home in Indiana.
The former V.P. notified the National Archives that classified material was found at the residence days before handing the documents over to FBI agents who came to the Pence home in Carmel on the night of January 19.
Pence was previously unaware of the existence of the documents. His lawyer Greg Jacob says they "were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration."
Pence had told the Associated Press in August that he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.
His lawyer now says the former vice president "was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence" and "understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry."
Trump Defends Pence
After news broke of the discovery of the classified documents, President Trump quickly came to the defense of his former vice presidential political partner. He stated on Truth Social:
"Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone."
That supportive tweet comes even though Pence and Trump have parted ways politically after Pence distanced himself from the events of January 6, 2021.
Meanwhile, an FBI search of President Biden's Delaware home on Friday found a fourth batch of classified documents, including some from his time as a senator. That's on top of newly discovered documents that came from Biden's years as vice president.
Senators and vice presidents do not have the power to declassify documents, but presidents do. Trump recently told CBN News he views Biden's classified document discoveries as being different for that reason.
"Obviously, it's a cover-up. It's a very sad situation," Trump said. "We have a much different situation. I was president, I have the right to declassify as president. A vice president as you know, can't do that. And we have literally a fortress here, you could say it's an armed fortress. Mar-a-Lago was built as the southern White House. We were locked and ready and we have Secret Service there at all times, so it's a much different situation. I see that they have their classified documents sitting on the floor in a big pile in a garage someplace. And that's a big problem I think for them."